Lexington restaurants supporting each other through latest restrictions

Posted at 2:46 PM, Nov 24, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — "Making it work" and "rolling with the punches." For Heather Trump, owner of Shamrock's Bar & Grille and The Cellar on Lansdowne, those phrases define her 2020.

"It's been good and bad. We've learned a lot about ourselves, we've changed the way we do business a little bit, " Trump said.

She said overall, their sales are down 70%. Out of 140 employees she's had to lay off about 120, and while she understands the reason for the latest round of restrictions, she said it is not easy.

"This was a lot harder laying people off in the holidays than it was the first go-around," she said.

However, through it all, she has had support from people who know what it is like to be in her shoes -- fellow restaurant owners. Some might consider them competition, she said they see it as a community.

"We're just trying to help each other out, but we did that before the pandemic as well," Trump said. "We're a pretty tight-knit group."

That is where she got the idea for "Locals Supporting Locals." It's something of a social media advertising campaign she started just before the latest round of restrictions. Trump has been putting videos together of different restaurants in town to encourage community support and spread the word about various changes.

One of those places getting a little love is PieTana, the Lexington-style pizza joint on Rosemont Garden.

"We're fighting a virus, not a mandate, not a man, it's a virus that we're fighting, " said PieTana owner Sean Nealey.

They've got their tent, new menu additions and have expanded their delivery service.

Of the community of restaurants that have helped answer questions and had each other's backs along the way, Nealey said it is amazing.

"It's a support group, and when we need something, we can reach out to each other," Nealey said.

While neither can predict the future, what they do know is it is this kind of support and commitment to the community that is needed to help them make it through this pandemic once and for all.

"We all know we need each other to survive," Trump said.

"Because of the support of the community we've been able to stay afloat," Nealey said. "And if we can continue through the rest of the pandemic, I think 2021 is going to be the best year ever for us."